Tristan da Cunha: Remote island creates massive marine protection zone

Northern rockhopper penguins on the island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. | Photo Credit: AP

Tristan da Cunha, one of the most remote islands in the world, has created the fourth largest completely protected marine area in the world, and the largest in the Atlantic Ocean.

A British territory with just under 300 inhabitants, Tristan da Cunha is a four-island archipelago in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. It is home to tens of millions of seabirds such as albatross, whales, sharks, and seals.

The government of the island recently announced that 90 per cent of the waters surrounding the island chain will become a “no-take zone” in which fishing, mining, and other extractive activities will be banned.

Extractive activities are actions or activities that extract, or remove, any resource from a particular area. They include fishing, hunting, logging, mining, and drilling among other activities.

The marine sanctuary will span a massive 265,347 square miles, an area that is almost three times larger than the United Kingdom.

This initiative is a collaboration between the governments of Tristan da Cunha, the United Kingdom, and a host of other conservation groups.

This sanctuary will protect a wide range of marine life that include rockhopper penguins and yellow-nosed albatross.

“Our life on Tristan da Cunha has always been based around our relationship with the sea, and that continues today,” James Glass, the territory’s chief islander, said in a statement. “That’s why we’re fully protecting 90% of our waters, and we’re proud that we can play a key role in preserving the health of the oceans.”

This area now joins the Blue Belt Programme of the United Kingdom that protects 2.7 million square miles of marine ecosystems around the world and has provided around 27 million pounds to aid marine conservation in the country’s overseas territories.

Tristan da Cunha was discovered by the Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha in 1506. The first permanent settlement in the island occurred around 1816, when the British took possession of the islands.

Isn’t this a fantastic effort to conserve marine life? What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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